Benitez loving Napoli passion

Napoli boss Rafael Benitez is loving life back in Italy as he seeks to guide his side to silverware.

Last Updated: 30/09/13 at 12:10 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Loving life at Napoli

Rafael Benitez: Loving life at Napoli

Benitez won the Italian Super Cup and the Club World Cup with Inter Milan in 2010 in his first spell in Italy, but was sacked after just six months.

Now back in management after a successful spell as interim Chelsea manager last season, in which he guided the Blues to Europa League success, his new club are sitting second in Serie A after collecting 16 points from their opening six games.

Benitez used funds from the big-money sale of striker Edison Cavani to reshape his squad, including bringing in Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon from Real Madrid, while Pepe Reina arrived on a season-loan from Liverpool.

He is up for the challenge ahead of trying to guide his new club to their first Serie A title since 1990.

Challenge

He told the Daily Mail: "I met the president and I liked the challenge. I could feel from the first day the passion and the idea to improve was there.

"We knew that maybe Cavani would go, so we had to be sure about signing the right players.

"I've signed four or five players with this money, all with international experience, who can give the message to the rest of the world that Napoli is growing."

Superstar Diego Maradona was at the club when Napoli last lifted the title and Benitez wants to also bring success.

He added: "Everybody talks about Maradona. Everybody enjoys football here and so he is an idol and it's important for everyone. He was one of the best players in the world and he made the difference.

"I think it's important to have idols in the past and big names here now and what we have to do is think about the future."

Too early

Napoli take on Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and Benitez admits he does not know if his side can win the tournament.

He said: "It is too early to say if we can be contenders.

"There are many strong teams. You cannot question the quality of the English clubs, but you can see the other teams are improving too. You have to keep moving forward."

Meanwhille, Benitez has the full backing of Reina, who believes the Spanish tactician has improved since the pair last worked together at Liverpool.

The keeper said: "He's the best manager I've worked with.

"He's just as good as ever. If anything, he is probably a little more complete, with much more experience. He has become a much better manager."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

FairyNuff
Shaw told to shape up

Footer 365

Champions League: John Collins claims Celtic will have to be at best to get past Legia Warsaw

John Collins says Legia Warsaw pose a huge threat to his dream of Champions League football with Celtic this season.

Premier League: Daniel Sturridge confident Liverpool can shine without Luis Suarez

Daniel Sturridge believes Liverpool have the squad to handle Luis Suarez's exit and will challenge for top honours.

Transfer news: Simon Mignolet backs Liverpool target Divock Origi and welcomes Pepe Reina return

Liverpool are closing in on Divock Origi and the Belgium youngster has been tipped to shine in the Premier League.

Mail Box

No Wonder Wenger Doesn't Buy British

That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...

Reasons To Believe That Van Gaal Will Be The Best

Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property